Yamxx
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Hi all, I will be starting Cambridge in October this year! Just wondering whether a bike is needed for Cambridge, and how much roughly would it be if I buy one at Cambridge? Also are bikes easily stolen in Cambridge? As if so I won't spend too much on the bike...
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FriedFish
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Nope, but it’s pretty useful if your college is far from your department. If you have a lock then you should be fine.
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Yamxx
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(Original post by FriedFish)
Nope, but it’s pretty useful if your college is far from your department. If you have a lock then you should be fine.
Thanks for the reply, so technically I can live without a bike?
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Wired_1800
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(Original post by Yamxx)
Hi all, I will be starting Cambridge in October this year! Just wondering whether a bike is needed for Cambridge, and how much roughly would it be if I buy one at Cambridge? Also are bikes easily stolen in Cambridge? As if so I won't spend too much on the bike...
Congratulations! Which College will you join?

It is generally helpful to have a bike esp if your College is not central.
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Yamxx
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(Original post by Wired_1800)
Congratulations! Which College will you join?

It is generally helpful to have a bike esp if your College is not central.
Thank you! Clare. I am going to study Natural Sciences, so I presume I will be going from Clare to Downing Site (?) quite often.

Thanks for the reply. How much would it cost roughly? And is it easy to get a bike after I arrive at Cambridge?
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FriedFish
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(Original post by Yamxx)
Thanks for the reply, so technically I can live without a bike?
Yup, you’ll just have to walk into the town centre that’s all.
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R T
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(Original post by Yamxx)
Hi all, I will be starting Cambridge in October this year! Just wondering whether a bike is needed for Cambridge
No, not at all. A lot of people do not cycle. I would mostly just consider how close your college is to the city center (shops) and to your faculty. e.g. If you are going to St Catz college to study Chemistry, you would not need a bike (since shops and the chemistry department are both very close).

If you have serious ambitions to do a sport, perhaps think about your proximity to [location]. e.g. if you want to try rowing, check out how far away the boat house is. Same with rugby, athletics, cricket, tennis, etc. Again - even people who had to go a long way often did not bother cycling.
And how much roughly would it be if I buy one at Cambridge?
Very expensive. You will pay 2-3x as much. Do not buy a bike in Cambridge unless you are buying directly from an ex-student who is leaving or something.
Also are bikes easily stolen in Cambridge? As if so I won't spend too much on the bike...
Yes, my bike was stolen a week before my finals :rolleyes: and I know a number of people who had their bikes stolen too. It's usually leaving them away from overnight college storage, or leaving them in easily accessible areas. The more expensive and flashy your bike is, the more of a target it will be.


Cycling is nice, but absolutely not necessary. In the 3 years I was there, 2 of my friends had cycling related injuries (1 broken leg, 1 broken shoulder) which were almost 100% not their fault (cycling near rush hour is dangerous. A lot of students are poor cyclists, which introduces risk to nearby cyclists. A lot of the buses and vans are aggressive - it is a city after all).

By default, I would recommend going locally to find an okay/decent 2nd hand bike, and taking that to Uni. When you're there, you can decide how much you use it.
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Yamxx
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R T Thank you so much for your detailed and useful reply! I now have a much better idea and I will give it a think. Many thanks!
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Wired_1800
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(Original post by Yamxx)
Thank you! Clare. I am going to study Natural Sciences, so I presume I will be going from Clare to Downing Site (?) quite often.

Thanks for the reply. How much would it cost roughly? And is it easy to get a bike after I arrive at Cambridge?
I would recommend that you buy a bike (preferably 2nd hand) and bring it with you. Although, you can do without a bike going from Clare to the Downing site, it would be good to have a decent mode of transport for other activities that you may want to do.

You should be careful about bike thieves because they nick good bikes.

Finally, if you are not used to cycling, I’d suggest that you practice a bit before going up. Else, you may get yourself in a bad situation.
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Yamxx
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(Original post by Wired_1800)
I would recommend that you buy a bike (preferably 2nd hand) and bring it with you. Although, you can do without a bike going from Clare to the Downing site, it would be good to have a decent mode of transport for other activities that you may want to do.

You should be careful about bike thieves because they nick good bikes.

Finally, if you are not used to cycling, I’d suggest that you practice a bit before going up. Else, you may get yourself in a bad situation.
I see, many thanks for the reply!
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R T
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Ah I seemed to have missed this part.

(Original post by Yamxx)
Thank you! Clare. I am going to study Natural Sciences, so I presume I will be going from Clare to Downing Site (?) quite often.

Thanks for the reply. How much would it cost roughly? And is it easy to get a bike after I arrive at Cambridge?
Clare is a really lovely college, and I'm very happy to see you applied for the best subject (ex natsci here!) Biology of cells in particular is a fantastic course. The Clare 1st year accommodation is excellent (I was very jealous of my friend from Clare).

Clare is close to the Downing Site (where most BioNatSci stuff takes place) and to the Chem department (if you have any ambitions there). A bike would 100% not be necessary. You'd probably be looking at a ~5 minute cycle vs a ~12 minute walk. I went to John's and of the ~15 bionatscis in my year, probably 12 of them walked to lectures in first year. John's is a similar distance to Downing compared to Clare (johns might be further).

That said... (!) NatScis are busy people. You get a lot of supervisions, and will often travel to your supervisors place for them. Often finding the best supervisor means going to another college (particularly in later years). A bike would not be wasted and would be a decent investment.

Some of my friends bought second hand bikes in Cambridge for around £80. These bikes were worth around £20-30 from a reasonable dealer, and a lot of "second hand bikes" sold in Cambridge were clearly stolen (funny story - I remember finding one which had a "Christ's College" sticker on it which was half rubbed off).
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Yamxx
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(Original post by R T)
Ah I seemed to have missed this part.


Clare is a really lovely college, and I'm very happy to see you applied for the best subject (ex natsci here!) Biology of cells in particular is a fantastic course. The Clare 1st year accommodation is excellent (I was very jealous of my friend from Clare).

Clare is close to the Downing Site (where most BioNatSci stuff takes place) and to the Chem department (if you have any ambitions there). A bike would 100% not be necessary. You'd probably be looking at a ~5 minute cycle vs a ~12 minute walk. I went to John's and of the ~15 bionatscis in my year, probably 12 of them walked to lectures in first year. John's is a similar distance to Downing compared to Clare (johns might be further).

That said... (!) NatScis are busy people. You get a lot of supervisions, and will often travel to your supervisors place for them. Often finding the best supervisor means going to another college (particularly in later years). A bike would not be wasted and would be a decent investment.

Some of my friends bought second hand bikes in Cambridge for around £80. These bikes were worth around £20-30 from a reasonable dealer, and a lot of "second hand bikes" sold in Cambridge were clearly stolen (funny story - I remember finding one which had a "Christ's College" sticker on it which was half rubbed off).
Haha hi fellow natsci! Wonderful, Biology of Cells has always been on my list And I'm glad to hear that the accommodation at Clare is great, I can't wait to start!!

Thanks a lot for the useful advice. Yes, I am also taking the supervisions and extra-curricular activities into consideration, which might require me to travel longer distances. And I enjoy cycling, so I think I will get one.

Gosh-- that's so overpriced! Haha lol what if a friend of yours have bought your lost bike, or if you have to buy your own stolen bike to get it back... Yup I have decided I would definitely lower my budget for a bike

I also heard that there will be a Bike Market at the Freshers' Fair -- will the price be reasonable there?
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TunaPal
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Heya, just finished my first year as a Bio NatSci at Trinity (so relatively close to Clare), and I did so without a bike

The chemistry department can be a bit of a pain to get to, especially when I had some supervisions there in the evening, but the walk took me no longer than 15 minutes. The only time I really wish I’d had a bike was for my exams at the end of the year - they were in the sports centre, which is a good 25 minutes walk out. Not fun when you have an exam starting at 9am!!

Also, if you’re doing Phys NatSci, all my Phys friends had bikes, as I think Materials and Physics are relatively far out?
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Yamxx
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(Original post by TunaPal)
Heya, just finished my first year as a Bio NatSci at Trinity (so relatively close to Clare), and I did so without a bike

The chemistry department can be a bit of a pain to get to, especially when I had some supervisions there in the evening, but the walk took me no longer than 15 minutes. The only time I really wish I’d had a bike was for my exams at the end of the year - they were in the sports centre, which is a good 25 minutes walk out. Not fun when you have an exam starting at 9am!!

Also, if you’re doing Phys NatSci, all my Phys friends had bikes, as I think Materials and Physics are relatively far out?
Hi ya, congrats for finishing first year, and many thanks for the advice! I am a Bio NatSci so I won't be taking any Physics module. Just curious, how did you find your first year of Bio NatSci and what modules did you take?

Gosh must be hard to get up for that exam! Though I guess the 25 mins walk was a good distress before the exam, but I would much prefer a lie-in haha
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TunaPal
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(Original post by Yamxx)
Hi ya, congrats for finishing first year, and many thanks for the advice! I am a Bio NatSci so I won't be taking any Physics module. Just curious, how did you find your first year of Bio NatSci and what modules did you take?

Gosh must be hard to get up for that exam! Though I guess the 25 mins walk was a good distress before the exam, but I would much prefer a lie-in haha
First year was challenging for me, mainly for personal mental health reasons however. I took Bio of Cells, Evolution and Behaviour, Chem, and Maths A. Looking back, I wish I’d taken Bio Maths instead - if first year has taught me anything, it’s that maths and I do NOT get along haha!!

Other than the dreaded m*ths, all my other subjects were enjoyable. Bio of Cells was my least favourite, which surprised me, seen as I applied with the intention of doing Biochem in my final years. So despite the range of subjects being (sometimes I felt unreasonably) wide, it was incredibly beneficial as it’s helped me decide where I’d like to go in the following years. Evolution and Behaviour was a surprising favourite for me, the lectures and material was just so engaging. Which subjects are you planning on doing ?

Supervisions ran the gambit from meh to brilliant, I think although how much you enjoy a supervision does depend on how much work you put into the supervision, I also think it partly depends on whether you ‘click’ with your supervisor, and how many people are in your supervision group.
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Yamxx
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(Original post by TunaPal)
First year was challenging for me, mainly for personal mental health reasons however. I took Bio of Cells, Evolution and Behaviour, Chem, and Maths A. Looking back, I wish I’d taken Bio Maths instead - if first year has taught me anything, it’s that maths and I do NOT get along haha!!

Other than the dreaded m*ths, all my other subjects were enjoyable. Bio of Cells was my least favourite, which surprised me, seen as I applied with the intention of doing Biochem in my final years. So despite the range of subjects being (sometimes I felt unreasonably) wide, it was incredibly beneficial as it’s helped me decide where I’d like to go in the following years. Evolution and Behaviour was a surprising favourite for me, the lectures and material was just so engaging. Which subjects are you planning on doing ?

Supervisions ran the gambit from meh to brilliant, I think although how much you enjoy a supervision does depend on how much work you put into the supervision, I also think it partly depends on whether you ‘click’ with your supervisor, and how many people are in your supervision group.
Thanks for the detailed reply! Well done for getting through it despite being challenging, I do hope you will feel better in your second year.

I am currently thinking of taking Bio of Cells, Chem, Physiology of Organisms or Evolution and behaviour (can't really decide!) and I am torn between Maths A or Bio Maths. I did quite well in my A- level Pre U Maths but I did not take Further Maths, so I am a bit unsure of whether to take Maths.

Yes I could imagine that the quality of supervisions depends hugely on the supervisor, I hope I will get along with them haha
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R T
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(Original post by Yamxx)
Gosh-- that's so overpriced! Haha lol what if a friend of yours have bought your lost bike, or if you have to buy your own stolen bike to get it back... Yup I have decided I would definitely lower my budget for a bike

I also heard that there will be a Bike Market at the Freshers' Fair -- will the price be reasonable there?
To clarify, I saw a bike in a shop which was for sale despite (clearly in my view) being originally stolen, I have no idea who if anyone lost it originally or ended up buying it.

I have no idea about the bike market. It comes down to whether or not you think freshers will be exploited (like they are at second hand shops) because they have a high level of demand for immediate bikes, while also having limited availability and opportunity. Me? I'm too cynical to believe that it wouldn't happen. I wouldn't put things past the union itself either.
I am torn between Maths A or Bio Maths
Maths A and Maths B do not require Further Maths, and all further maths concepts are properly introduced (although you will go through it all much faster). I would encourage all BioNatScis who feel like Maths is not their weakness to try Maths A, with the view to dropping down to Bio Maths if it really is too much. While I'm aware that I (was) probably a stronger Mathematician than most physnatscis, I found Maths B really quite easy and straightforward, and I think the exam itself was very generous since it gives students so much choice and if you know what to do, you can easily complete the exams in well under 3 hours (you will not be as lucky in other subjects)!
Yes I could imagine that the quality of supervisions depends hugely on the supervisor, I hope I will get along with them haha
Well - yes and no. In first year nothing is sufficiently difficult or narrow enough where the supervisor is that important. Almost everything is covered by standard textbooks which you will find both at the college and uni libraries, as well as online on various websites (academic or otherwise). As a bionatsci, the most important thing to learn is how to write a good biology essay in a short amount of time (good planning, good level of discussion and detail, etc).
I am currently thinking of taking Bio of Cells, Chem, Physiology of Organisms or Evolution and behaviour
A good choice! First year options are less important than you think. Obviously not doing chemistry does shut the door on Chemistry 2nd year, but other than specific lead-into courses, you can pretty much do whatever (and it would be best to just do whatever you will do best in). Physiology and E&B are really quite different courses, you probably already have a feeling for what you find more interesting.

I did Cells, Chemistry, Physics, Maths B and it was a lot of fun. Physics was slightly boring/easy - in hindsight I think they do this on purpose to try and reduce the 2nd year numbers :P E&B was a bit more polarising as far as I'm aware for a lot of the bionatscis. Physiology was similar - I think a lot of them underestimated the amount of plant science involved (but plant science is honestly more interesting imo). Cells I think everyone loved until 3rd term, where you suddenly realise how much biochem there is to memorise! Chemistry is a great course, and is honestly both the most interesting and best taught 1st year module. I think some of the biologists struggle a bit with the calculus involved in certain later IA Chem modules, which is why I would recommend keeping your maths fresh with Maths A instead of BioMaths.
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black1blade
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Yeah you don't need one if you go to a central college and are a bionatsci. Most colleges have bike sheds ect, you're only likely to get your bike stolen if you leave it outside overnight. Although you wouldn't need one for labs and lectures, it would be handy since some events ect are a decent distance away (I wouldn't wanna walk to the river to watch my mates in boat race for example). Also the exams for first year are west cambridge site so unless you have a bike it would be a 30-45 minute walk.

In terms of maths if you have any interest in finishing your degree in chemistry while doing more theoretical or physical areas then the phys natsci maths obviously makes more sense. Maths A/B is basically further maths pure + vector calculus so p much a natural extension of what you learned in core a-level maths + a few new concepts like matricies and complex numbers. Biomaths is mostly focused on statistics and modelling.

If you're 100% set on doing something biological then bio maths does make a bit more sense. As far as I am aware they are also adding a new 1B course which would be another maths course designed for biologists for more advanced techniques used in research so I'm not sure if bio maths would be a prereq for that. Best thing to do is ask your DoS tbh.
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black1blade
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(Original post by R T)

A good choice! First year options are less important than you think. Obviously not doing chemistry does shut the door on Chemistry 2nd year, but other than specific lead-into courses, you can pretty much do whatever (and it would be best to just do whatever you will do best in). Physiology and E&B are really quite different courses, you probably already have a feeling for what you find more interesting.
It shuts the door to chem A but you can still do chem B with bio maths and infact you can specalise in chem in third year with just chem B, there's a special pathway where you catch up with some of the physical chem stuff and you're just slightly limited in which options you can take.
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RhynieChert
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hi! just to confirm what people have said above, I have just finished first year natsci without using a bike, as long as you don't mind walking you can get everywhere you need to go in usually less than 20 minutes. I'd suggest if you don't fancy cycling that you try a few weeks without then buy a bike if you feel you need it, prices should be slightly cheaper then as well as they always hike up the prices in freshers week.

as for subjects, I'm a phys natsci but I took e&b and loved it, found the lecturers and the content really engaging. also from what I hear the labs are less intense than other bio subjects and chemistry so provides a welcome break
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